TPD Responds To Mother Of Man Shot, Killed By Police
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa Police Department is responding to a grieving mother who says her mentally ill son did not deserve to die at the hands of police officers.
Captain Shellie Seibert says they get around a thousand mental health calls per month, but if there's an immediate threat to public safety, officers have to react to that first.
Jacob Craig was shot and killed by a Tulsa police officer earlier this week when police say he ran toward them with a gun and ignored all commands to stop.
His mother, Kim Flanagan, is devastated and is calling out TPD for a lack of mental health training.
"They need to be educated, they need to be trained, by mental health professionals, not their own,” said Flanagan.
But Captain Seibert says they are highly educated to deal with mental health calls.
"The Tulsa Police Department is one of the most well-trained departments in the country,” said Seibert.”In the academy, our officers receive about 38 hours of mental health training."
She says those 38 hours fully prepare officers to deal with a multitude of situations.
"We want, when we get on the scene, to be able to readily recognize symptoms and know what we're dealing with,” she explained. “If we're dealing with an illness, such as mental health, dementia, or if we're dealing with a crime, and sometimes it's both."
Seibert says one of the main skills officers learn is de-escalation, but that's not always a valid option.
"Sometimes, when someone's behaving in a dangerous manner takes the backseat to the actual unsafe behavior at the time. An officer is an officer first,” she said.
"If they're armed and they're pointing their weapon at the officer or someone in the public, we have to take a different approach,” Seibert added.
Regardless, Seibert says they're sympathetic to Craig, his family and the officer involved.
"The idea of someone losing their life is a tragedy, especially if it's related to an illness,” she stated.
Seibert says they offer a voluntary Critical Intervention Training course to officers through the mental health department. Every officer is also required to do at least two hours of mental health training every single year.